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What do you think about the Revelation?


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#61 Machaira   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1028

Posted 19 July 2011 - 04:07 PM

And yet there are a bunch of people with IQs high enough to qualify for Mensa (myself included) that are Christians. Imagine that. Posted Image
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#62 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 10242

Posted 19 July 2011 - 04:41 PM


In study after study there is found a clear and consistent connection between a lower IQ and religiosity.

Curiously I've checked it. At least some studies support your claim. http://en.wikipedia...._belief_and_I.Q

I believe that it is fairly widely accepted that this phenomenon is an example of correlation-not-causation, due to a variety of socio-economic factors not strongly associated with religion.

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#63 ChaosEngine   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2454

Posted 19 July 2011 - 06:24 PM



In study after study there is found a clear and consistent connection between a lower IQ and religiosity.

Curiously I've checked it. At least some studies support your claim. http://en.wikipedia...._belief_and_I.Q

I believe that it is fairly widely accepted that this phenomenon is an example of correlation-not-causation, due to a variety of socio-economic factors not strongly associated with religion.


That article makes no sense. It claims that

Highly religious countries:
Are poorer.
They are less urbanized.
Have lower levels of education.
They have less exposure to electronic media that increase intelligence (Barber, 2006).
Experience a heavier load of infectious diseases that impair brain function.
Suffer more from low birth weights.
Have worse child nutrition.
Do a poor job of controlling environmental pollutants such as lead that reduce IQ.


yet the US is one of the most religious countries on the planet and has relatively high standards in most of those areas.

I don't believe that religion makes you stupid (although it does make you less likely to question things), and nor do I believe that atheism makes you smarter. However, I do believe that smarter people tend to question things more and are generally more disturbed by the inconsistencies and contradictions in religion.
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#64 _moagstar_   Members   -  Reputation: 465

Posted 20 July 2011 - 12:02 AM

did you read your whole link?


Yes, and I don't see anything there that supports your claim that I was...

under the wrong impression if that's what you thought the majority of christians believe.


I'm not suggesting that there isn't difference in what people believe; that's not suprising since the bible is pretty contradictory on the subject.

#65 _moagstar_   Members   -  Reputation: 465

Posted 20 July 2011 - 12:41 AM

yet the US is one of the most religious countries on the planet and has relatively high standards in most of those areas.


I think the US is pretty low on the list of religious countries in the world to be honest : http://www.gallup.co...ans-Common.aspx


I would agree that the correlation between religion and intelligence is based on socio-economic factors; Personally, I know some exceptionally intelligent people who are deeply religious.

#66 Binomine   Members   -  Reputation: 538

Posted 20 July 2011 - 03:09 AM

yet the US is one of the most religious countries on the planet and has relatively high standards in most of those areas.

The American culture is all about being religious and a lot of people claim to be religious, because that's a trait that's valued in the US. A really easily faked trait, really, since it's hard to test.

However, if you look at things like church attendance, rather than self reported studies, you'll find out US is equal to or even lower than other developed nations.

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#67 Machaira   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1028

Posted 20 July 2011 - 05:51 AM

I'm not suggesting that there isn't difference in what people believe; that's not suprising since the bible is pretty contradictory on the subject.

That's because those who believe it's contradictory don't bother to read the text in context. Posted Image
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#68 _moagstar_   Members   -  Reputation: 465

Posted 20 July 2011 - 07:35 AM

That's because those who believe it's contradictory don't bother to read the text in context. Posted Image


I disagree, and think that's a bit presumptuous of you. I have read those passages in terms of the 'surrounding context' and I still see glaring contradictions. I guess it depends really on your interpretation. A sceptic is probably trying to find contradictions and a person of faith is trying to use the surrounding context to find a way to suppress them (They would do better to just put any contradictions down to shitty translation from greek, or the fact that the bible was written over a huge time span by various different authors; contradictions are inevitable!)

#69 Machaira   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1028

Posted 20 July 2011 - 08:04 AM

That the page even lists verses from the O.T. shows a lack of understanding of the Bible. "Salvation" in the O.T. obviously wasn't just faith alone, that's part of the reason why Christ's sacrifice was necessary. Less-than-ideal translation of words in the Bible (yes, there are some) doesn't change the meaning of the text. Given the fact that the Bible was written over a huge time span and the cohesiveness of the text throughout that time is a point for the validity of the Bible IMO.
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#70 Telgin   Members   -  Reputation: 200

Posted 20 July 2011 - 08:12 AM

To address the original question, I'll say that I look at the book of Revelation as nothing but fiction. Even when I still considered myself a devout Christian I can't say that I ever believed it completely.

It brings up a lot of fundamental issues that no one will ever be able to come to an agreement on. The problem of Hell is a big one in my opinion. A truly omnibenevolent and omnipotent god would not torture his creations eternally for even the worst of finite sins. I've read a dozen counter arguments and I don't find any of them satisfactory.

Revelation also brings up the issue of why Satan exists, or why he is evil. Again, I've read a number of arguments for this and they're all nonsense to me.

Most of these arguments boil down to the concept that God is beyond understanding and to that, I always thought that it was particularly evil of a god to intentionally create a set of rules that don't always make sense to the god's creations and expect them to follow without question, or else punish them eternally. Not to mention the question of why God would have decided to create us in the first place... (especially knowing who would be sent to Hell). He can't be lonely or bored if he's perfect, so what was the point?
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#71 mikeman   Members   -  Reputation: 2253

Posted 20 July 2011 - 08:48 AM

That the page even lists verses from the O.T. shows a lack of understanding of the Bible. "Salvation" in the O.T. obviously wasn't just faith alone, that's part of the reason why Christ's sacrifice was necessary. Less-than-ideal translation of words in the Bible (yes, there are some) doesn't change the meaning of the text. Given the fact that the Bible was written over a huge time span and the cohesiveness of the text throughout that time is a point for the validity of the Bible IMO.


Well, it is written, explicitly, even in the New Testament(in the epistle of James) that "faith without works is dead".

Not that I'm interested to discuss it much further...after 2000 years, the Bible and the NT can be anything to anyone; you can always 'interpret' it to fit in your particular context. Yes, I've read exegesis that explain 'faith without works is dead' doesn't contradict 'faith alone'. I don't buy it. I know how to read text, thankyouverymuch. Even in the extreme case, if you have faith, good works follow inevitably, and, in reverse, if you don't have good works, it follows that you don't really have faith. And by good works I don't mean keeping the ceremonial laws, I mean genuine care for those around you, forgiving, repenting your bad works, striving for justice and peace, and giving to those in need in abundance from your heart.

Now, I know what the common dogma is on this. But note: I am not saying that good works are yours, and you are saved by your power and efforts. Consider it like this: Jesus Christ said "I am the true vine, and you are the branches". Follow from this. If we consider Christ to be the vine, and us the clusters of grapes, then faith is simply the flow of juice from the root and the vine to the grapes. If there is flow, the grapes are good. If the grapes are not good, it means there is no flow. The juice in the grapes is not of the grapes, but the flow of the juice is revealed by the condition of the grapes. It's necessity. A branch well connected to the vine can't give bad juice, and vice versa. Similarly, our good works reveal our faith. They are not our own, we accomplish them with God's help, but if you don't have good works, what exactly is the essence of this "faith"? Verbally agreeing to a dogma? 42 thousand "hail marys' in your lifetime? What does it take?

Oh, and I still have verses from the OT, like God instructing child sacrifice, or drowning everyone, or leading a tribe to attack the land of another tribe, or putting a man to death for gathering wood on the Sabbath, that still, well, torment me. This isn't how I picture my God, the Father Jesus described. But I let those contradictions be, I hope sometime in the future it will become more clear.

#72 freddyscoming4you   Members   -  Reputation: 112

Posted 20 July 2011 - 10:39 AM

To address the original question, I'll say that I look at the book of Revelation as nothing but fiction. Even when I still considered myself a devout Christian I can't say that I ever believed it completely.

It brings up a lot of fundamental issues that no one will ever be able to come to an agreement on. The problem of Hell is a big one in my opinion. A truly omnibenevolent and omnipotent god would not torture his creations eternally for even the worst of finite sins. I've read a dozen counter arguments and I don't find any of them satisfactory.

Revelation also brings up the issue of why Satan exists, or why he is evil. Again, I've read a number of arguments for this and they're all nonsense to me.

Most of these arguments boil down to the concept that God is beyond understanding and to that, I always thought that it was particularly evil of a god to intentionally create a set of rules that don't always make sense to the god's creations and expect them to follow without question, or else punish them eternally. Not to mention the question of why God would have decided to create us in the first place... (especially knowing who would be sent to Hell). He can't be lonely or bored if he's perfect, so what was the point?

The best I see it is thus: God is holy and perfect therefore only perfection and holiness can be around him or it will be destroyed. Hell is a place where people go who can no longer be around God not because he "sent" them their but rather they have removed themselves out of his grace by violating his law. God created us in perfection and with perfect nativity so that we were literally blameless because we didn't know better. When we chose to go against his instructions we were no longer perfect and could no longer partake in his perfect kingdom. There was once when God was going to completely wipe out the human race but Moses intervened and said that if he did that then he'd have to destroy him as well. Since God has only referred to Moses as his friend in all the Bible that put him in a special place in relationship to God. God changed his mind, obviously. But the point of the whole God and man thing was for God to have a family who loves him and wants worship him out of their own free will, I think. That's the only point I can possible conceive. Why then give us free will if everyone else will go to hell? Truth be told I don't know. I can only go back to the view that says God wants us to worship him because we want to and not because we have to.

#73 Aardvajk   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6071

Posted 20 July 2011 - 11:55 AM

Sanity is consensus as far as I can tell. One person believes something delusional, they are mad. Twenty people believe it, it is a cult. Two million believe it, it is a religion and we are suddenly not allowed to question it any more without being disrespectful.

This is why I am, and imagine always will be, agnostic.

#74 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7401

Posted 20 July 2011 - 12:08 PM

I can only go back to the view that says God wants us to worship him because we want to and not because we have to.


Personally I have two problems with this;

- To quote StarTrek; "What does god need with a starship?" Why does god want worship? You are god, do you really need your ego stroking if you are perfect?

- It's all very well giving you free will but the choice is effectively 'worship me or burn' which is hardly any choice at all.

So, for all your free will, you are either effectively choosing to stroke someones ego OR be cast off into torture forever.

Doesn't sound like the act of a 'loving' god to me, sounds like the act of a creature which just wants its ego stroked or maybe a creature which feeds off 'worship' in some manner and the whole 'be good' thing is nothing more than a method to manipulate us.

But picking holes in religion is like shooting fish in a barrel so I think I'll stop now before someone pulls out the old "you can't understand god because god said so" thing as if that's some sort of rational arguement...

#75 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7401

Posted 20 July 2011 - 12:19 PM

This is why I am, and imagine always will be, agnostic.


Personally, if I had to label myself, I'd put myself down as a atheist.

While I don't know the ultimate cause of why the uni/multiverse exists the fact it does exist, how mind boggling big it is and our utterly unimportant position in it all is more than enough to convince me there is no way a god put this together 'just for us'; to believe such is the high of arrogance and serves nothing more than to elevate your own importance and to act as a mental crutch for the fact that yes, we are in a universal sense small and not that important and that life is nothing more than a struggle from one moment until the next before our biological constructs give up.

Factor in the competting religions, the changing nature of an apprently perfect being (really, has no one questioned that?), a god who apprently didn't see sin coming (*slow clap* right there) and various other things which are on the tip of my brain... well, the whole thing starts to look a bit like a joke tbh...

Explaination and control; that's all religions mean to me and I'm just sad I won't be around to see the day we get shot of them and stand on our own two feet.

#76 mikeman   Members   -  Reputation: 2253

Posted 20 July 2011 - 12:22 PM


I can only go back to the view that says God wants us to worship him because we want to and not because we have to.


Personally I have two problems with this;

- To quote StarTrek; "What does god need with a starship?" Why does god want worship? You are god, do you really need your ego stroking if you are perfect?

- It's all very well giving you free will but the choice is effectively 'worship me or burn' which is hardly any choice at all.

So, for all your free will, you are either effectively choosing to stroke someones ego OR be cast off into torture forever.

Doesn't sound like the act of a 'loving' god to me, sounds like the act of a creature which just wants its ego stroked or maybe a creature which feeds off 'worship' in some manner and the whole 'be good' thing is nothing more than a method to manipulate us.

But picking holes in religion is like shooting fish in a barrel so I think I'll stop now before someone pulls out the old "you can't understand god because god said so" thing as if that's some sort of rational arguement...


It depends. Let's take some possibilities, starting from the simple, having nothing to do with morality, question: Is there a Creator or not?

1)The material Universe was not created by any intelligent being, it just is. Why the natural laws, out of the gazillion possibilities that could arise, are what they are and allow for the emergence or order and life, is unanswered, for the time being. That means 'good' or 'bad' are just relativisitic moral entities based on perspective, and it's anyone's choice to follow them, without any reprucussions "from above". Of course we have laws that ensure some degree of order.

2)The universe was created 'somehow', and is populated by various gods that want humans to worship them, and punish them explicitly if they do not. That is the case of your egotistical god. They did not create everything, but are powerful and feed off people worshipping them, therefore demand them and inflict punishment if not.

3)The universe was created by a Creator. That is, he/she/it designed the basic physics laws and keeps them in motion. If you will, it has created, out of nothing, the 'canvas' in which time,space and energy take form. The supreme Mathematician, Physicist and Programmer :). Without that being, there is nothing. Protons, electrons, nucleus, atoms, molecules, planets, galaxies, nebulaes, stars, evolution, life, everything is derived from those basic laws.

Human may or may not be special in that regard. You could accept that this Creator created the universe as an experiment, or as an exercise, or for pleasure, or because it's in its nature, or you can accept that the Creator created the universe because, as the sufi poet of love Rumi puts it, 'I was a hidden treasure of love and generosity, and I wanted this treasure to be known'. Kind of like mothers want to have chilrden out of love, and to have someone to love, even though the children isn't even born yet. So you can accept that in this creation there are other extraterrestrial races, each taking its own path. End of the day, everything good, therefore, comes from that being, directly or indirectly. If you choose to disconnect from the Creator, you choose to disconnect from everything good and from existence and life itself.

Of course, in (3) there is difficulty(for me) to exactly quantify what this 'disconnection' is. Jesus said "if you have a quarrel with your brother, first do anything to solve it and then come to the temple. Do not call him 'you fool!'". Suppose there is Bob, who is Christian, and knows this verse, hears it on Church every Sunday and goes 'praise the Lord!" 3 times each time he hears it, but still drags his brother to the court for 5 square meters of land. And there is Dave, who is an atheist, but always does everything in his power not to wrong other people, and to reconciliate the differences. Who is disconnected from God, and who does His will? How can Dave do good if he is truly disconnected from the source of all that is good?

Matt 21:28-32


But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first, and said, ‘Son, go work today in my vineyard.’ He answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind, and went. He came to the second, and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but he didn’t go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said to him, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly I tell you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering into the Kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn’t believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. When you saw it, you didn’t even repent afterward, that you might believe him.



#77 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7401

Posted 20 July 2011 - 12:38 PM

1)The material Universe was not created by any intelligent being, it just is. Why the natural laws, out of the gazillion possibilities that could arise, are what they are and allow for the emergence or order and life, is unanswered, for the time being. That means 'good' or 'bad' are just relativisitic moral entities based on perspective, and it's anyone's choice to follow them, without any reprucussions "from above". Of course we have laws that ensure some degree of order.


A key point to note with this is that we don't know how many universes exist or existed. There are theories which state that ours is one of a number which exist and others that ours is the Nth universe. While I know you didn't do this directly you can't point at the chance of this universe happening as proof that someone must have created it or that it couldn't have come about by chance. If this is the 1,000,000 universe to exist and the first where conditions are possible for life (as we know it) to exist then it makes the universe as it stands the only possible outcome of that try. Of course given the laws of entropy ours could be the last universe as all the energy vanishes and state settles out.

3)The universe was created by a Creator. That is, he/she/it designed the basic physics laws and keeps them in motion. If you will, it has created, out of nothing, the 'canvas' in which time,space and energy take form. Without that being, there is nothing. Protons, electrons, nucleus, atoms, molecules, planets, galaxies, nebulaes, stars, evolution, life, everything is derived from those basic laws.

Human may or may not be special in that regard, you can accept that the Creator created the universe because, as the sufi poet of love Rumi puts it, 'I was a hidden treasure of love and generosity, and I wanted this treasure to be known'. So you can accept that there are other extraterrestrial races, each taking its own path. End of the day, everything good, therefore, comes from that being, directly or indirectly. If you choose to disconnect from the Creator, you choose to disconnect from everything good and from existence and life itself.



Which raises a problem; the creator must be outside conventional space-time for this to apply; while this might also account for them being 'all knowing' it does bring up issues with free will and how they didn't see 'sin' coming.

It also brings up the more fundimental question of 'what created god?' - if you can't allow for the universe to suddenly come into existance why can you allow for a god to do so?

Of course, in (3) there is difficulty(for me) to exactly quantify what this 'disconnection' is. Jesus said "if you have a quarrel with your brother, first do anything to solve it and then come to the temple. Do not call him 'you fool!'". Suppose there is Bob, who is Christian, and knows this verse, hears it on Church every Sunday and goes 'praise the Lord!" 3 times each time he hears it, but still drags his brother to the court for 5 square meters of land. And there is Dave, who is an atheist, but always does everything in his power not to wrong other people, and to reconciliate the differences. Who is disconnected from God, and who does His will?



Based on my understanding on New Testament dogma the answer is simple; Dave is disconnected because he has not accpted Jesus as his lord and saviour etc etc. Last I checked there was no 'good life' clause because we are all damned due to an event which apprently took place long before any of us existed (which god didn't see coming...); we can get out of that situation via the Jesus clause but that's it.

#78 mikeman   Members   -  Reputation: 2253

Posted 20 July 2011 - 12:58 PM

A key point to note with this is that we don't know how many universes exist or existed. There are theories which state that ours is one of a number which exist and others that ours is the Nth universe. While I know you didn't do this directly you can't point at the chance of this universe happening as proof that someone must have created it or that it couldn't have come about by chance. If this is the 1,000,000 universe to exist and the first where conditions are possible for life (as we know it) to exist then it makes the universe as it stands the only possible outcome of that try. Of course given the laws of entropy ours could be the last universe as all the energy vanishes and state settles out.


You're talking I suppose about the many worlds/multiverse theories, or derivations of them. Without taking into reagard that they seem to be merely hypothesis for an objective interpretation of quantum mechanics, unlike the 'shut up and calculate!' copenhagen interpretation, there are some questions about them:

1)Can those parallel universes interact? If so, then they are not parrallel. If they can't, we can't know anything about them, ever. Which means that, in regards to science, there is only one universe because that's the only possible to detect.
2)Suppose a multitude of universies exist, that is, everything that could be possible, any trajectory any particle or form of energy could take, is happening in some of them. Eventually, out of the infinite possibilities, you are going to run into beings(arrangements of form) that could be said are equivalent to gods. So somewhere, somehow, there is this parallel universe, populate by God and his angels. Who knows, right? :P


(on that note, the multiverse theory is a bit scary; that means that there is a universe where I'm being infinitely tortured for no reason other than it's a possibility that must materialize at some point, a-la Event Horizon. Eeeek!)

Or, want another take? God is infinity, is the multiverse, the sum of all possible combination of all possible forms(or information). Out of necessity, it is intelligent(since it's infinite, it must contain the sub-set of intelligence) and omniscient(since any knowledge is contained within him).

Which raises a problem; the creator must be outside conventional space-time for this to apply; while this might also account for them being 'all knowing' it does bring up issues with free will and how they didn't see 'sin' coming.
It also brings up the more fundimental question of 'what created god?' - if you can't allow for the universe to suddenly come into existance why can you allow for a god to do so?


Again, it depends. I suppose God knew about sin, but also knew about salvation, and, out of the 2 possibilities:

1)He creates beings unable to sin. Is there free will there, or are we just talking about automatons? Can love between God and an automaton exist?
2)He creates beings able to sin, and knows that they will do, but also able to repent and reunite with him. He evaluates all the options and deems that this route is the best.

Based on my understanding on New Testament dogma the answer is simple; Dave is disconnected because he has not accpted Jesus as his lord and saviour etc etc. Last I checked there was no 'good life' clause because we are all damned due to an event which apprently took place long before any of us existed (which god didn't see coming...); we can get out of that situation via the Jesus clause but that's it.


Well, the Lord works in mysterious ways...Personally, if I died and God said to me 'you know, Dave mentally rejected me for those personal,biological,historical and cultural reasons, but in essense he was connected to me all the time, that's how he was able to 'bear good fruits'. Can a tree bear good fruits if it's not connected to the root? Therefore Dave goes to heaven. Trust me, I know better.', I would be delighted :)

Ah, a man can dream... :P

#79 Aardvajk   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6071

Posted 20 July 2011 - 02:59 PM


This is why I am, and imagine always will be, agnostic.


Personally, if I had to label myself, I'd put myself down as a atheist.


Well, for me, agnosticism isn't about sitting on the fence. It's more about accepting that I don't know and becoming comfortable with the fact that I will never know while I'm alive, rather than feeling that by not knowing, I'm somehow missing out on something.

I don't claim to have achieved this by the way. :)

#80 DaveMS   Members   -  Reputation: 185

Posted 20 July 2011 - 03:33 PM

I think about it no more than I think about any other religious text that has been written in the last few thousand years - I don't give it much thought at all. If there is a god up there, which I highly doubt, I'm sure he doesn't give a toss about organised man made religions. If he has created the billions of galaxies in the universe, hundreds of billions of planets -I can't imagine him hovering over us insignificant humans screaming "no.. no.. NOO!... No red meat on Fridays!"

If he really is sat up there waiting to judge - who is he going to let in to heaven - someone like me who has lived (up until now anyway) a relatively good life, compassionate and caring, but doesn't believe in him.
Or will it be the militant christian - firebombed an abortion clinic in his name, but believes in him without question.

If it is the latter, I would rather be elsewhere anyway.




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